Someone told me that I would gain a year of wisdom for each day I was on the Camino. So far, that seems almost accurate.
We have traveled around 120 km. From Pamplona we went another full day to Puenta la Reina where I was served a full fish for dinner. Even though it was staring at me, it was delicious. Unfortunately no one joined us for dinner that night, but it was restful all the same. I did have a nice chat with a girl named Hannah from Australia who was traveling alone and knew no Spanish. We continued on the next day to Estella, another full day of walking. In Estella we went into our first medieval church, which was situated on a hill (we grumbled about having to complete the ¨perigrino waddle¨up the stairs) but absolutely stunning. It had wonderful stained glass that illuminate the otherwise heavy interior. We had another quiet dinner by ourselves at a bar a fee blocks from the albergue. Along the way from Estella I began to feel a pain brewing in my right achilles. I was hoping for blisters, but instead it was a dreaded inflammation in my tendon . I hoped asprin and elevation would help it by morning. Unfortunately, it was about the same when I woke up, so we decided to take it easy and only go 10k onto the next village, instead of pushing on to our normal 20 plus kilometers.
My injury blessed me with my favorite day so far. We started slow, and spent the morning in a cafe in Estella with two other young English speakers. Hannah from Australia reappeared, and “Scott” from Belgium joined us as well. (His name was not Scott, but his actual name was very difficult to pronounce so he suggested we call him Scott instead). Hannah had injured her knee and Scott was waiting for his dad to catch up, who had gone home to return their tired dog and camping gear. We waited around the until the pharmacist opened at 9; I got more asprin and an ankle brace, and Hannah got instructions to rest. We decided to take it easy so Scott, who was too bored to wait, joined us on a stunning 10k to villamayor de monjardin. We spent the journey talking with Scott about the differences in Belgium and the US and what we might do next after the Camino. The walk was pretty gentle and we even passed a herd of sheep grazing in a field with no fences, only a sheep dog. We dined for lunch on the top of a mountain with our staple of bread and cheese (and a horde of about 7 hungry kittens).
We arrived at our destinstion by 1 and stayed at a wonderful small albergue run by dutch pilgrims (so Scott was very happy to be able to use his first language and be the translator for once). It had a gorgeous view overlooking the church and mountains and was the first religious albergue we stayed at – vastly different from the 100+ bed municipal albergue we stayed at in Estella. We had a delicious shared homecooked meal with grace, and included with dessert was the distribution of the book of john and invitation to a meditation in an adjoining room after dinner. Since we are on the Camino and trying to experience new things, we went to the meditation. It was a pretty standard meditation with interjected verses in both Spanish and English. It was nice to have quiet time to think, and particiation in the meditation opened the door for my traveling companions and I to finally begin to discuss our views on spirituality and religion for the first time, which we had been neglecting out of politeness. The Christian Dutch volunteers at the hostel were also very kind and willing to participate in nonjudgmental conversations about religion. We also roomed with a great woman from Canada named Simone who had decided to go on the Camino after reading the Shirley Maclaine book, so we had a great laugh about that before bed. It was altogether a lovely day.
We are now 19k down the road in Torres de Rio. It was a bit worrisome at first. The next village from VillaMayor was Los Arcos, 10k away. After only 5k down the road I had to stop because my tendon hurt too badly. I then was inspired to remove my boot that was putting pressure on it and wrap my flip flop onto my foot with an ace bandage. My foot immediately felt better. Once we arrived in Los Arcos 5k later, I was able to get a pair of crocs which I plan to wear a few days until my foot heals fully. My boots are really heavy to carry so we’ll see who eventually wins; crocs or boots. Anyone who knows me well knows I can´t stand the look of crocs. But it´s time to put judgement aside – especially if they can get me where I am going! We are staying in a small albergue, sharing a room with a mother and daughter from Florida. Simone, our canadian friend is here as well. Scott met up with his father (who walked a crazy 48 k today to catch up) at an albergue down the street. We are about to make a simple pasta dinner to fuel up for our walk to the university city of Logrono tomorrow. Hope all is well. Despite my fun I still miss y’all.
Mucho amor! (See how much Spanish im learning?!)
PS: you might be interested in my friends Melissa’s blog — Melissa-camino.blogspot.com as she is doing s really good job of recording our journey so far.